We wish to warmly congratulate the Australian government – particularly the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Julie Bishop, MP, the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, the Hon Steven Ciobo, MP, and the Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Senator the Hon Concetta Fierravanti-Wells – for their initiative in considering and formulating a White Paper on Australia’ Foreign Policy for the next decade.
This submission is limited in scope as we do not attempt to cover all the six questions raised by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
If the government decision was forward looking when it was announced, it has now become even more boldly far reaching to provide major headlands in foreign policy for Australia to navigate its way in an increasingly uncertain and unpredictable world.
The unexpected ‘Brexit’ by the United Kingdom in June and President Donald Trump’s victory in November 2016 in the United States create new challenges on a global basis, adding to the resultant serious threats of China’s military and economic emergence and Russia’s attempted re-emergence as super powers. The underlying factor for these seemingly separate events is indeed a whipped up sense of excessive nationalism and the populist pursuit by some ‘old-fashioned’ leaders under disguise as ‘strong modern nationalists’ for domestic political purposes, in some democratic nations as well as in dictatorial regimes.
Of course, every nation-state in history shapes its policy on the basis of national interests. In today’s world, the Chinese President and General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, Mr Xi Jinping is on record to push a “China First” stance and so does the Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin. Recently added to this triumvirate is Mr. Donald Trump with his “America First” rhetoric.